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In the nineteenth century The Dead Sea and the Tigris-Euphrates river system had great political significance: the one as a possible gateway for a Russian invasion of Egypt, the other as a potentially faster route to India. This is the traditional explanation for the presence of the international powers in the region. This important new book questions this view. Through a study of two important projects of the time - international efforts to determine the exact level of the Dead Sea, and Chesney's Euphrates Expedition to find a quicker route to India - Professor Goren shows how other forces than the interests of empire, were involved. He reveals the important role played by private individuals and establishes a wealth of new connections between the key players; and he reveals for the first time an important Irish nexus. The resulting work adds an important new dimension to our existing understanding of this period.